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Fraud optician has legal appeal refused

AN optician who was disqualified from practising with the NHS after defrauding the service of almost £30,000 has failed in his bid to reverse the decision.

Brian Kelly pocketed an extra £6000 a year over four years by making a substantial number of false and inaccurate claims for payment.

Mr Kelly issued customers with spare pairs of glasses and claimed money for them from the NHS at a later date, pretending they were legitimate repairs or replacements.

He carried out the fraud – totalling £29,398.30 – at his firm, Kelly Opticians, in Shetland, between April 1995 and December 1999.

In 2007, an NHS tribunal took the decision to disqualify him from inclusion in its list of opticians, despite the fact the fraud "only" extended to £6000 per year out of a turnover of £400,000 and he had repaid more than £12,000.

Mr Kelly appealed against the decision in the Court of Session, but Judge Lord Carloway ruled in favour of the health service.

He said: "The nature of the appellant's activities was that he operated a system within his firm whereby spare pairs of glasses were provided, especially to children, and claimed for by post-dated forms which described the spare pairs as legitimate repairs or replacements."

Lord Carloway said: "The court is unable to classify the tribunal's disposal as excessive.

"The tribunal, as a specialist body, is uniquely placed to determine the issue of disposal in the case of a significant fraud by someone in the appellant's former position. Disqualification for such a fraud cannot be viewed as in any way unreasonable. The appeal is accordingly refused."

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